“I have Tricare. I don’t need anything else.”
I hear this a lot in Fayetteville and while it is true that “need” doesn’t play a factor, there is a strong consideration for want. Several years ago, Tricare and VA benefits made having Medicare Parts A and B mandatory. Together, they tend to take care of all the medical bills; however, it opens a door to allow people with Tricare or VA benefits to take advantage of the inducements being offered through Medicare Advantage plans.
As discussed in my last article, Medicare Advantage offers many inducements like Dental, Vision, Hearing Aids, transportation, Part B Buybacks, gym memberships, over-the-counter benefits, and more. Tricare and VA recipients are no exception. The medical-only Medicare Advantage plans tend to offer larger part B buyback benefits than the plans that include prescription drug coverage which is perfect for those with Tricare or VA benefits as their drug coverage is already seen to. These MA plans do not affect medical benefits already covered by Tricare or VA Benefits and indeed allow the option of visits to civilian doctors at very low costs.
Retired State Employees can also benefit from MA plans. Currently, state employees have the option of a Blue Cross Blue Shield 70/30 plan or the Humana MAPD plan. In the benefits booklet they receive, it outlines how much better the Humana plan is; however, it leaves out a key component: the BCBSNC 70/30 plan coordinates benefits with both supplements or a medical-only Medicare Advantage plan while the Humana plan does not. Many of the inducements offered in MA plans are not available through the state Humana group plan. Having the state 70/30 plan coordinating with a medical-only MA plan actually provides far superior coverage to just the Humana group Medicare plan as the state generally picks up the copays that the MA plan charges. This combo also gives the inducements that retirees are missing out on.
Retired Federal Employees have their own custom-tailored MA plans as well offered by some carriers. These function a little differently than most MA plans in that they don’t have as many of the same inducements, but they generally pick up all the copays from the federal retiree plan as well as they tend to have some of the richest Part B Buyback benefits.
Finally, people who are full Medicaid recipients who are also on Medicare are a special class known as dual eligibles. The industry has plans called D-SNP plans with the richest inducements of all, including hundreds of dollars monthly in food benefits. Some companies offer unlimited transportation to medical appointments, the gym, and the grocery store on these plans as well as unlimited dental in addition to all the other traditional MA inducements.
Long story short, if you’re retired and have an employer-provided plan or one of the insurances mentioned already, there are ways to maximize your coverage and added benefits by using Medicare Advantage.